New Labeling Rules for Carmine and Cochineal Extract Colorants

All products containing carmine and cochineal extract must now declared this ingredient on the package label under a new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ruling.

The FDA has revised its requirements for these color additives in response to reports of moderate to severe allergic reactions toward cosmetics and foods containing carmine and foods containing cochineal extract. The FDA said cosmetics containing carmine must specifically declare the presence of carmine “prominently and conspicuously at least once in the labelling.”
Example: “Contains carmine as a color additive.”

The FDA stated “will allow consumers who are allergic to these color additives to identify and thus avoid products that contain these color additives.”

The colorants are derived from the female cochineal beetles and are considered safe for use by the general population and are presently used in a wide variety of products other than cosmetics; including ice cream, yogurt, fruit drink, alcoholic beverages and candy. These colorants add a characteristic pink, red or purple color.

The new regulation is effective 24 months after date of publication (January 5, 2009). Voluntary compliance is expected and recommended. If you have concerns, objections or requests for hearing can be submitted for up to 30 days after date of publication.

More info on the FDA website: